Penn State Volleyball

Penn State women’s volleyball’s ‘silent set’ raises support, awareness for the hearing impaired

The Rec Hall crowd fell silent Wednesday night early in Penn State women’s volleyball’s sweep of Michigan State. The players communicating on the court and the squeaks of their sneakers on the floor were all that could be heard during the first nine points of the match. Fans could be seen signing their approval toward the players on the court.

Once the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions scored their ninth point of the match, the crowd erupted with cheers, as the Nittany Lions cut the Michigan State first-set lead to three at 12-9.

The early silence, deemed a “Silent Set,” was to raise awareness and support for the International Week of the Deaf. The Nittany Lions chose the ninth point to stay silent until in honor of sophomore teammate, and All-American, No. 9 Jonni Parker. Parker has moderate hearing loss, and student manager Ryan Perry is deaf.

Parker said in a press release from Penn State that she saw the “Silent Set” as an opportunity to raise awareness.

“I think the ‘Silent Set’ is an amazing opportunity to bring awareness and support to those with hearing loss,” she said. “I believe we all should inspire one another to achieve our best every day and encourage others to chase greatness, regardless of the situation.”

Fans who attended the match were given a flier that detailed how to sign cheers and how to applaud using sign language. Students who attended the match received shirts with “Penn State” spelled out in American Sign Language.

Jon Sauber earned his B.A. in digital and print journalism from Penn State and his M.A. in sports journalism from IUPUI. His previous stops include jobs at The Indianapolis Star, the NCAA, and Rivals.